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Nana Oye Lithur (Mrs.) the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection

Ministry commits to passage of Affirmative Action Bill

Source: Public Agenda By Elizabeth Ayamga

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has reiterated its commitment to ensuring the passage of the Affirmative Action Law. The sector Minister, Nana Oye Lithur, gave the assurance at the 6th Biennial conference of District Assemblywomen on the theme “Affirmative Action Now” orga-nised recently in Accra . She indicated that her Ministry would submit the Bill to the Ministry of Justice by September.

She anticipated that the law when passed would address the startling gender inequalities in the nation’s socio-economic and political spheres to ensure inclusiveness. She hoped that the law would accelerate women’s empowerment and contribute to poverty reduction and ultimately lead to a sustainable national development.

In line with this commitment, the Minis-try, Mrs Lithur revealed, had spearheaded a number of activities to ensure a comprehensive Bill that could stand the test of time. Some of these activities included regional and national consultative stakeholder workshops for inputs on the drafting of the proposals; a validation workshop which agreed that the instructions for the drafting of the Bill be submitted to a consultant engaged for the drafting of the Bill by May 31, 2013; and other agreed actions and related time-frame for the finalisation of the Bill its related legislative instrument. The Minister believed that an equal representation of women and men in decision making would reflect a more accurate composition of the society. The law, she said, was the only way for Ghana to attain gender equality with respect to women’s participation in decision making, since it provides legally mandated systems, structures and policies to ensure women’s equal participation. “There is every indication therefore that the passage of the Affirmative Action Law is a strategy to achieve gender equality,” she stressed. The 6th Biennial Conference of District Assemblywomen organised by ABANTU for Development and the Women’s Manifesto Coalition with Actionaid and the European Union brought together Assemblywomen from all the 212 districts of Ghana. The Conference, among other things, focused on how women could expand their space for self and collective empowerment to enhance women’s participation and leadership as the nation would be preparing for the 2014 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Since the first conference in 2003, the Biennial Conference have become institutionalised events representing ABANTU, the Women Manifesto Coalition and the Actionaid’s commitment to mobilising and strengthening women’s increased activism in local and national politics and the promotion of gender equality in governance processes. The objective is to sustain and build on efforts at ensuring that more women continue to play an active and effective role in all governance processes in Ghana by arguing against existing structural inequalities, especially those that work to exclude women from fully participating in national decision-making processes.